Ripe Time to Premiere Haruki Murakami's SLEEP in Philadelphia & Brooklyn

Ripe Time to Premiere Haruki Murakami's SLEEP in Philadelphia & Brooklyn

Ripe Time, the Obie-winning, Brooklyn-based theater company led by Rachel Dickstein, has garnered critical acclaim and devoted audiences for creating physically rigorous, visually powerful adaptations of classic and contemporary stories by authors raging from Virginia Woolf to Gertrude Stein to Jhumpa Lahiri. Since 2000, the Company has made seven large-scale, multidisciplinary events celebrating women's dreams and awakenings.

Directed and devised by Dickstein, Sleep is a full sensory, theatrical work that builds on Ripe Time's rich history of creating adventurous theater that "finds hypnotic poetry in the ordinary, the solemn, the rapturous and just about everything in between," (New York Times). In Sleep, adapted for the company by Alpert award-winner Naomi Iizuka from a shattering 1994 short story by Haruki Murakami, a housewife's surreal yet liberating bout with insomnia serves as a powerful metaphor for freeing oneself from numbing routines and societal expectations.

Sleep will make its world premiere, October 27-28, at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania and will have its New York premiere at BAM Fisher as part of the 2017 Next Wave Festival, November 29 - December 2.

Sleep centers on a young housewife who suffers a terrifying dream and suddenly stops sleeping. In her new sleep-deprived world, the constrictions of her prescribed role melt away, empowering her to take risks, indulge in what is forbidden, and embrace what is unpredictable. This seeming "escape" however, leads her into a world of lawlessness and danger that she never expected. Using a palette of shifting projections, vivid lighting, evocative movement, and crisp humorous dialogue, Dickstein creates a timely work that explores a shifting universe of gender and power.

Sleep finds Dickstein deepening her body of work with an internationally renowned creative team including Susan Zeeman Rogers (set), Hannah Wasileski (projections), Jiyoun Chang (lights), Matt Stine (sound), and Ilona Somogyi (costumes). Wasileski and Chang were awarded a Special Citation Obie award for their work on Ripe Times's The World Is Round.

Sleep is produced in association with Octopus Theatricals and features an original score performed live by the New Born Trio (Miguel Frasconi, Katie Down, master shakuhachi player Jeffrey Lependorf) and a diverse, ensemble cast comprising Akiko Aizawa (Siti Company), Brad Culver (Poor Dog Group), Takemi Kitamura (Peter Sellers, Dan Hurlin, Phantom Limb Company), Paula McGonagle (Ripe Time (for past two decades), Gabrielle Lansner & Co.), Saori Tsukada (Under the Radar, Aya Ogawa) and celebrated performer and playwright Jiehae Park (Yale Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival.)

The new production follows The World is Round, a musical collaboration with Heather Christian that Dickstein created from a Gertrude Stein fable. An earlier work, Septimus and Clarissa, adapted by Ellen McLaughlin from Virginia Woolf's radical modernist novel Mrs. Dalloway, was nominated for Drama Desk and Callaway Awards, and was one of only five productions nominated for best play production of the year by the Drama League.


Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1949. He grew up in Kobe and then moved to Tokyo, where he attended Waseda University. After college, Murakami opened a small jazz bar, which he and his wife ran for seven years. His first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, won the Gunzou Literature Prize for budding writers in 1979. He followed this success with two sequels, Pinball, 1973 and A Wild Sheep Chase, which all together form "The Trilogy of the Rat." Murakami is also the author of the novels Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Norwegian Wood, Dance Dance Dance, South of the Border, West of the Sun, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Sputnik Sweetheart, Kafka on the Shore, After Dark, 1Q84 and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. He has written three short story collections, The Elephant Vanishes, After the Quake and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman and an illustrated novella, The Strange Library. Additionally, Murakami has written several works of nonfiction. After the Hanshin earthquake and the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack in 1995, he interviewed surviving victims as well as members of the religious cult responsible. From these interviews, he published two nonfiction books in Japan, which were selectively combined to form Underground. He also wrote a series of personal essays on running, entitled What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. The most recent of his many international literary honors is the Jerusalem Prize, whose previous recipients include J. M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera and V. S. Naipaul. Murakami's work has been translated into more than 50 languages.

Rachel Dickstein (devisor / director) Rachel Dickstein is the founder and Artistic Director of Ripe Time, a Brooklyn based, Obie-winning theatre company specializing in dance-theatre adaptations of novels and stories. She devised, choreographed, and directed the world premieres of the critically acclaimed The World is Round (BAM-Fisher, Obie Award, Special Citation, Finalist for 2014 Richard Rodgers Award, with Heather Christian), Septimus and Clarissa (Joe A. Calloway, Drama Desk, Drama League nominations, at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, Fire Throws (based on Antigone) at 3LD ART & Technology Center, Innocents and Betrothed at the Ohio Theatre, and The Secret of Steep Ravines at P.S. 122. Other recent directing projects include Kamala Sankaram's opera Thumbprint (LA Opera, Prototype), Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd's In What Language? (Asia Society, REDCAT, PICA TBA Festival), Northern Lights at HVSF. Winner of the 2015 LPTW Lucille Lortel Award. Nominated for the 2014 Alan Schneider Award and the 2014 and 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award. Two of Ripe Time's productions were honored to be included in the USITT exhibition at the Prague Quadrennial 2015. Rachel is the recipient of commissions from the Joseph V. Melillo Fund for Artistic Innovation at BAM, Annenberg Center Live, CTG, NYSCA, P.S. 122 and funding support from MAP, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, as well as fellowships from NEA/TCG and Drama League Director's Fellowships. BA, Yale College. Assistant Professor at the Purchase College, SUNY Conservatory of Theatre Arts.

Naomi Iizuka (writer/adapter) - Plays and texts for devised works include 36 Views; Polaroid Stories; Anon(ymous), Language of Angels; Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls; Tattoo Girl; Skin; Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West; Ghostwritten; At the Vanishing Point; Hamlet: Blood in the Brain (a collaboration with CalShakes and Campo Santo + Intersection for the Arts), 3 Truths (a collaboration with Cornerstone Theater Company) and War of the Worlds (a collaboration with SITI Co.) Her plays have been produced by Berkeley Rep, the Goodman, the Guthrie, Cornerstone, Intiman, Children's Theater Company, the Kennedy Center, the Huntington Theater, Actors' Theatre of Louisville, GeVa, Portland Center Stage, the Public, Campo Santo + Intersection for the Arts, Dallas Theatre Center, the Brooklyn Academy Of Music's "Next Wave Festival," and Soho Rep. Her plays have been published by Overlook Press, Playscripts, Smith and Kraus, Dramatic Publishing, Sun and Moon Press, and TCG. Iizuka is an alumna of New Dramatists and the recipient of a PEN/Laura Pels Award, an Alpert Award, a Joyce Foundation Award, a Whiting Writers' Award a Stavis Award from the National Theatre Conference, a Rockefeller Foundation MAP grant, an NEA/TCG Artist in Residence grant, a McKnight Fellowship, a PEN Center USA West Award for Drama, Princeton University's Hodder Fellowship, and a Jerome Fellowship. Her play Good Kids is the first play commissioned by the Big Ten Consortium's New Play Initiative designed to provide strong female roles for theatre students and professional actors. Iizuka currently heads the MFA Playwriting program at the University of California, San Diego.

Akiko Aizawa: At BAM Next Wave, she performed with Siti Company in Steel Hammer (2015 music by Julia Wolfe, Bang on a Can All-Stars), A Rite (2013 with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company), Trojan Women (2012 by Jocelyn Clarke), Hotel Cassiopeia (2007 by Chuck Mee), bobrauschenbergamerica (2003 by Chuck Mee), War of the Worlds (2000 by Naomi Izuka). SITI credits include: the theater is a blank page (with Ann Hamilton; Wexner Center), Persians (Getty Villa, Los Angeles), Radio Macbeth (The Public Theater), La Dispute (ART), American Document (with Martha Graham Dance Company; Joyce Theater) and systems/layers (music by Rachel's; Krannert Center), all directed by Anne Bogart. Other Theatre/Festival Credits Include: Arena Stage, Guggenheim Museum, Humana Festival, Los Angeles Opera, New York Live Arts, New York Theatre Workshop, Park Avenue Armory, Richard B. Fisher Center, Royce Hall, SUNY Purchase, Modlin Center, OZ Arts Nashville and Japan Society. International Festival/Venue Credits Include: Edinburgh, Dublin, Bonn, Helsinki, Melbourne, Bogotá, São Paulo, Vienna, Moscow, Toga, Tokyo and Tbilisi.

Brad Culver: Favorite performances include Gertrude Stein's Brewsie and Willie (REDCAT/The Public Theatre's Radar L.A.), One Man, Two Guvnors (Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Bay Area Critic's Circle Award nomination - Best Featured Actor), Thirty.Three. by Bill Cain (Ojai Playwright's Conference), Edward Tulane (South Coast Repertory), The Black Glass (Ballhaus Ost, Berlin), Satyr Atlas (The Getty Villa, Los Angeles), Standing Alone (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), and The Internationalists (Istrian National Theatre, Croatia; Belgrade International Theatre Festival, Serbia). Culver has collaborated with notable artists to develop new work at institutions such as CAP @ UCLA, Center Theatre Group (with Rajiv Joseph), EMPAC, The University of Zagreb, and Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor. In film and television, recent credits include Extracted (Official Selection: SXSW Film Festival), The Next Big Thing, Cartoon Network's Regular Show, Dead in the Room (produced by Slamdance Film Festival), and A Lonely Place for Dying (with James Cromwell). Culver is a founding member of LA-based company Poor Dog Group. He received his BFA in theatre from the California Institute of the Arts.

Takemi Kitamura: native of Osaka, Japan and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in Dance-Education from Hunter College, where she received the Choreographic Award from the Dance Program. Her work has been presented at numerous venues in New York. Her latest performance credits include The Oldest Boy (puppeteer/dancer) at Lincoln Center Theater, The Indian Queen (dancer), an opera directed by Peter Sellars, Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed (puppeteer) by Dan Hurlin, Shank's Mare (puppeteer) by Tom Lee and Koryu Nishikawa V, and Memory Rings (puppeteer/dancer) by Phantom Limb Company. Kitamura has worked with numerous dance and theater companies, such as Nami Yamamoto, Sondra Loring, Sally Silvers, Christopher Williams, The BodyCartography Project, Risa Jaroslow and Dancers and Crossing Jamaica Avenue, to name a few. She has performed as a lead in Samurai Sword Soul, a Japanese sword fighting theater company for eight years.

Paula McDonagle: McDonagle has worked with Ripe Time since 2003, her productions include Septimus and Clarissa, Fire Throws, Betrothed and Innocents. As a founding member of Gabrielle Lasner & Co., McGonagle collaborated and performed in over a dozen productions including River Deep: a tribute to Tina Turner, Salt Chocolate, Crush, Holocaust Stories and films including Dad, Wishing and The Stranger. She has performed at Trinity Repertory Theatre, Harvard Summer Dance, EST, NYTW and LaMaMa. McGonagle is a teaching artist and has been awarded a teaching grant from the Jerome Robbins Foundation.

Jiehae Park: Selected performances include Clubbed Thumb Summerworks,?La Jolla Playhouse, Studio Theatre, Tiny Little Band, A Collection of Shiny Objects, and REDCAT. As a writer, Park's plays include peerless (Yale Rep premiere, Marin Theatre Co, Barrington Stage,?Cherry Lane MP), Hannah and the Dread Gazebo (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and?Wondrous Strange (collaborative project,?ATL/Humana), as well as development with Sundance, Soho Rep, Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor, EWG at The Public Theater, NYTW, DG Fellowship, Ojai Conference, and Ma-Yi. Awards: Leah Ryan, Princess Grace, Weissberger, and ANPF Women's Invitational, as well as inclusion in two years of the Kilroys List. Currently commissioned at Playwrights Horizons, McCarter, Williamstown, the Geffen, and OSF. Park is a NYTW Usual Suspect and 2016-17 Hodder Fellow at Princeton and holds a BA from Amherst and an MFA (acting) from UCSD.?

Saori Tsukada: A leading performer in NY downtown dance and theater scene, who is known for her "astoundingly precise movements" (Irish Times) and "carefree charisma" (Village Voice). Born in America, raised in Japan where she trained in classical ballet and gymnastic, Tsukada began working in theater as a visual artist and choreographer while studying Communication Arts at Waseda University in Tokyo. Since moving to NYC in 1999, she has generated "virtuoso" (Time Out New York) principal roles for many experimental works, often unclassifiable, by likes of composer/theater artist John Moran, choreographer Yoshiko Chuma, Catherine Galasso, playwright/director Aya Ogawa, theater company Hoi Polloi, Witness Relocation, the Vintage DJ, composer Joe Diebes. Aside from her favorite local venues such as La MaMa, The Kitchen, PS 122, Japan Society, she has performed in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Warsaw, Bucharest, Skopje, Istanbul and more. Her choreography works for a video artist Katja Loher has been exhibited/performed live at places like C24 Gallery (NYC), Figge Art Museum (Iowa) and Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair. Tsukada was nominated for Best Actress at Dublin Fringe Festival in '05 and '08. Her performance in Witness Relocation's production of Charles Mee's "ETERNIDAY" was listed in the Most Memorable Arts Experiences of 2013 by Eva Yaa Asantewaa in InfiniteBody. Her solo performance project Club Diamond, co-created with film/theater artist Nikki Appino, was selected for Sundance Institute's Theater Makers Residency and Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA, and was presented at The Public Theater as part of the 2017 Under The Radar Festival.

Katie Down (NewBorn Trio, metal and glass objects) - Katie Down is a composer, performer, meditation teacher and creative arts therapist. She has created numerous sound-scores for theatre, dance, and film in the US and abroad including Roland Schimmelpfenig's "The Golden Dragon," for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award in 2013, and Aditi Kapil's "Agnes Under the Big Top" at Long Wharf Theatre for which she was awarded the Connecticut Critics Circle Award. Katie has performed at international music and theatre festivals including Under the Radar, Live Arts Festival, Fryma e Re Festival, Kosovo, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa, Trn Festival Slovenia, Ohrid Summer Festival, Macedonia, Zadar Snova Theatre and Music Festival, Croatia, and the Malta Experimental Theatre Festival, Poznan, Poland. Katie is the recipient of a Meet the Composer commission for her compositional work in glass instruments and found objects as well as a Jerome Foundation grant and Mid Atlantic Arts travel grant to perform in Kosovo with NewBorn Trio. Katie has a background as a multi- instrumentalist and singer, incorporating her training in music of the Balkans with the subtleties of experimental sound art and performs with NewBorn Trio, the Sephardic ensemble Sofie Salonika, and The Ukuladies. She has taught workshops in music and theatrical improvisation, deep listening meditation, and collaborative songwriting at Roma villages in Kosovo, youth programs in Macedonia, an orphanage in Johannesburg as well as at NYU, SVA, The New School, Cal State Fullerton, Rensselaer Institute, and The Jewish Theological Seminary. Katie's commitment to international collaboration has filtered into her psychotherapy practice, working internationally with arts in education organizations and NGOs focusing on music as a global resource for healing. Her most recent international collaboration resulted in an album entitled "Ukes and Kids" showcasing original songs written, performed and sung by children in South Africa. She's an instructor and workshop facilitator at MNDFL, and Maha Rose Center for Healing. For more information please visit or

Jeffrey Lependorf (NewBorn Trio, shakuhachi, xiao, tanso and objects) Jeffrey Lependorf is a composer and certified master player of the shakuhachi (traditional Japanese bamboo flute), and also performs on a number of other Asian bamboo flutes, including the bawu, xiao, tanso and shinobue. His music has been performed around the globe-literally, in fact: a recording of his Night Pond for solo shakuhachi was launched into space when the shuttle Atlantis took off on May 15, 1997 and remained for a year aboard the Russian space station Mir. Reviewing his recording with guitarist Scott Fields, Everything is in the Instructions (on the Ayler label), Alexander Schmitz (Jazz Podium) wrote, "From now on, when you think of the shakuhachi, think only of Jeffrey Lependorf." He received his undergraduate degree in music composition from Oberlin Conservatory, and his doctorate and masters in music composition from Columbia University, where he subsequently taught for a number of years. He received the venerable teaching honorific "Ko?ku?" ("empty nothingness") from Kinko shakuhachi master Yoshinobu Taniguchi. Along with Katie Down and Miguel Frasconi, he is a member of The NewBorn trio. His "Masterpieces of Western Music" audio-course on Barnes & Noble's "Portable Professor" series can be downloaded through He currently serves as Director of the Music Omi International Music Residency Program in upstate New York and has received numerous grants in support of his work.

Miguel Frasconi (NewBorn Trio, metal and glass objects) is a composer and improvisor specializing in the relationship between acoustic objects and musical form. His instrumentarium includes glass objects, analog electronics, laptop, and hybrid constructions of his own design. He has composed chamber music, operas, and numerous dance scores. His opera, Hand To Mouth, was premiered in northern California in 2015, and a new short opera will be premiered at Symphony Space, NYC, in May 2017, as part of Experiments in Opera's spring season. Miguel has worked closely with composers John Cage, James Tenney, Pauline Oliveros, Morton Subotnick, and has collaborated with many choreographers, including Alonzo King and modern dance pioneer Anna Halprin. He recently worked on the music for a theatrical tribute to the late choreographer and children's book author, Remy Charlip, with whom he collaborated throughout the 1990s. His interest in glass and nontraditional musical instruments started in his teens, then later was a founding member of The Glass Orchestra, the internationally renowned ensemble featuring all glass instruments (1977-86), and the sound-sculpture band Möbius Operandi (1990-95). He is presently a co-director of Ne(x)works (2006-present), one of the leading new music ensembles in NYC, with whom he performed at MaersMusik/Berliner Festspiele 2012. In September 2012, the New York Times called his CAGE100 Festival @ The Stone "one of the best observances of John Cage's 100th birthday" and included performances by his Noisy Toy Piano Orchestra and John Cage Variety Show Big Band. Miguel's music has been released on New Albion, Porter Records,, and recordings of his string quartets featuring the JACK Quartet will soon be released on the Tzadik label.

About Ripe Time

Ripe Time, an Obie-winning theatre company founded in 2000 and led by director and deviser Rachel Dickstein, develops and present ensemble-based theatre with rich language, visual power, and physical rigor. The company tells stories from the inside out, using the language of memory and imagination to trace how women negotiate identity in the face of cultural constrictions. Inspired by the most searing writing and cinema of the past, Ripe Time creates original multidisciplinary events for the 21st century celebrating women's dreams and awakenings.

Ripe Time has created seven large-scale ensemble works that have received three Obie Awards and nominations from the Drama Desk, the Drama League and the Joe A. Calloway Award for outstanding direction. The company's work has been commissioned by BAM, CTG, Annenberg Center for the Arts and presented at BAM-Fisher, the Baruch Performing Arts Center, The JCC in Manhattan, 3LD Art & Technology Center, the Ohio Theatre, PS 122, the Clark Studio at Lincoln Center, and LaMaMa, ETC, Ko Festival, Voice and Vision, and Watermill. Designs from two Ripe Time productions were featured in the 2015 USITT Prague Quadrennial, an international exhibit featuring excellence in design from across the globe. In 2015, Artistic Director Rachel Dickstein was awarded the LPTW Lucille Lortel Award in honor of her work with the company.

About Octopus Theatricals

Founded in 2013 by creative producer Mara Isaacs, Octopus Theatricals is dedicated to producing and consulting in the performing arts. From experimental to commercial, they collaborate with artists and organizations to foster an expansive range of compelling theatrical works for local, national and international audiences. They eschew boundaries- aesthetic, geopolitical, institutional- and thrive on a nimble and rigorous practice. Current projects include Hadestown by Anaïs Mitchell, Iphigenia by Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding, The Island and Hamlet by Poland's Song of the Goat Theatre, Falling Out by Phantom Limb Company, Theatre for One by Christine Jones and An Iliad by Homer's Coat. Current clients include the Jerome Robbins Foundation, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Princeton University, Fiasco Theater, The Wilma Theater and The Civilians.

Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

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